Markus Büscher is a senior researcher at Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany, and Professor at the Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf. Formerly he worked in the field of hadron and accelerator physics at the Cooler Synchrotron COSY and then turned his attention to the field of laser-plasma acceleration. He is now a leading expert in the field of polarization effects in relativistic plasmas. Applications of his work aim at the implementation of next generation's particle accelerators as well as improvements of fusion reactors by the use of polarized fuel. He is co-author of about 200 articles published in scientific journals.
Polarized fusion has long ago be proposed as a method to strongly increase the efficiency of fusion reactors. However, the required nuclear spin-polarization conservation in fusion plasmas has never been proven experimentally. Here we report on first experimental data from the Phelix laser at GSI Darmstadt suggesting an increased ion flux from a polarized 3He target heated by a PW laser pulse as well as evidence for an almost complete persistence of their nuclear polarization after acceleration to MeV energies. These findings also validate the concept of using pre-polarized targets for plasma acceleration of polarized beams.
In the second part of my talk I will present a new method for producing the required polarized fuel in a simple and energy efficient way. The method is based on a so-called Sona transition unit, in which a beams of atoms, molecules or ions can be polarized up to P~90% – basically without limitation of the beam intensities – by means of a coherent and monochromatic radio-wave pulse. The technique should also work for a variety of samples at rest; thus it opens the door for a new generation of polarised tracers, and possibly low-field MRI.